Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Restoring faith in British democracy Part II

Following on from my earlier article about how to restore faith in British politics, which was written as a response to the MPs expenses scandal, I now find myself writing an article on the scandal concerning the payback of those expenses.

The current review of MPs expenses, being led by Sir Thomas Legg, is to determine what should be repaid. Already, over three hundred letters have been sent out to MPs to either ask for further information to clarify a claim, or to demand that they return the money.

What is galling about this whole sorry episode is the fact that some MPs are so incensed by this, that they are threatening to refuse to pay the money back, with some threatening to take legal action (presumably at tax payers expense).

Having been caught red handed with their trotters well and truly in the till, having sucked on the teat of the tax payer's nipples, they now have the arrogance to whinge when asked to return what they were never entitled to in the first place. Their bleating that it is unfair and unjust is lamentable.

They were caught flipping their houses for personal gain, claiming for luxurious home appliances, moat cleaning and a duck pond amongst the most contemptible of their claims. In practically any other situation, they would have been charged with fraud. Now that they have been asked to return their ill gotten gains to the tax payer, it is appalling that some are so out of touch as to feel hard done by.

We are in the middle of a recession, money is tight, firms are closing all around, people are losing their jobs and homes, and yet some MPs are stamping their tiny little feet that they need to repay back their exorbitant claims.

Let's be clear, none of the MPs claims were just and reasonable, even under the old system. It just so happened that it was so riddled with corruption and inefficiency, that these claims ever made it through in the first place. Even judging many of their claims against the old system, they would have little if anything to do with their roles as a serving MP.

MPs are well paid, and are supposed to act in the interests of the public to whom they are rightly asked to serve. At least the party leaders seem to have correctly gauged the public outrage and disgust, and have demanded that their members return whatever cash is asked of them.

In my opinion, a failure to return what was not yours to take in the first place, should result in your swift exit from the party, and from politics. If they want to be voted in by their constituents, they had better get out their cheque books, and quickly.

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